The tone of this book was better than Unnatural Death plus for Wimsey, more personal (although much less than in Clouds of Witness). Less ghastly and only one murder. One love match. More mystery.
Actually, towards the end the detectives make discoveries so fast and reveal so little that I was bewildered and thought that I had skipped something. On further thought, I decided I liked this twist in the style.
And of course Wimsey is hilarious, and I garnered more quotes for my quote book. Parker and Wimsey’s habit of irritating each other—marvelously soothing!
The murderer in Unnatural Death, I think, was more of the Julian Freke style of murderer. Callous and brutal. I can remember three murders and at least 3 victims of attempted murder—including Lord Peter himself. Plus other disgusting/disturbing/wrong elements. This book, like Whose Body, was more of a detective story (i.e. we all—reader and characters—know who did it, but the characters need clues to prove it) rather than mystery. The main story I did not like, however, Wimsey provided several quotes.
Ah, yet again I could have published somewhat closer to when I read this novel, but as you can see from past published reviews I am working on this.
Well, I do like variety. This mystery was quite different from the first one. The story felt more human and personal . . . as it certainly had to be for Lord Peter, and later Parker, given the nature of the story. I feel like the first novel is the formal introduction while the second novel pitches you headlong into friendship with Lord Peter. I like that mimicry of life in style, but I think that the acquaintance should have been slower especially since it is British.
Anyway, the mystery was greater in this novel than the mystery in the first. And the explanation less intellectually satisfying to the same degree. Instead of the “how” as in the first book, the focus is on the “who,” “why,” and etc. More the traditional mystery story approach.
I strongly dislike the false honor and delicacy stance (as ascertained from literature, oh what trustworthy source, this is the traditional British honor code). The duke committed adultery and it is not honor to hide the other person, it is deceit. (He who covers his sin will not prosper . . . Proverbs 28:13). If he really wanted to protect her honor, he would not have had the affair in the first place. Duh. This ugly immorality and false morality darkened the whole story, and the final scene of drunkenness which could have been humorous (cringe-worthy humor to some, but still humor) merely dragged everything down more with that behavior and flippancy.
I realize drunkenness is a sin, but I do not consider it harmful here and although in real life it is disgusting at best and murder at worse, it is rather funny in fiction. Judge me, and do not laugh at Otis :/
P.S. Despite the sanctimonious tone of my review, I did enjoy the novel. Um, it is Lord Peter we are talking about people!
Despite writing notes during/soon after reading Whose Body and typing them up weeks ago, I am just now editing and publishing them. I need to publish current reviews and procrastinated reviews (if that is not an adjective yet it should be) at the same time. I will improve, I will, I will! (Said like “I do believe in fairies!” of course!)
Lord Peter is the Sir Percy of mysteries and Bunter is his Jeeves. I am guessing Lord Peter was in WWI with Parker (who is more of the Sherlock Lestrade than the original Lestrade is; Sugg is like or worse than the original Lestrade), whom Lord Peter calls by his first name after his (Lord Peter’s) relapse, thus revealing that they are good friends and not just friendly business associates (I love that artistic detail and what it reveals). What a spoiled boy Lord Peter is (kind of like Shawn in Psych).
I suspected Freke but still found the story interesting. I do not like that Lord Peter gave Freke the chance to kill himself. (This is the most sickening murder imaginable and you warn the criminal, because of your own ego? “I found you out.”? “He is a great man so warn him”? “I feel bad so warn him”? And all of Lord Peter’s qualms about suspecting Milligan . . . rules rather than morals, I suppose). I am in love with Lord Peter although this received quite a chill thanks to the above. This was such a cold-blooded, long premeditated murder. And the confession plus details (dissection especially) made it quite freaky.
The switch to 2nd person was intriguing, especially because of the depth and different outlooks these switches added:
~The poor young man and his blunders; most authors do not allow inferior people feelings or such a sense of their own blunders.
~Lord Peter and the freaky scene, reverting back to WWI, AWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The name switch is in this scene too which intensifies the sense of Lord Peter’s fear.
The mystery is not outrageously convoluted and unbelievable. The method and manner of the crime are what provided the shock to the senses. The absolute callous depravity of the sociopathic and psychopathic murderer–he intended to have his “work” published (!). Unlike a Christie novel, the characters in this novel are developed, each is a person and not primarily a tool in a mystery plot.
I hope there is more mystery (I have since discovered that there is) in other novels of the series, but I think that constant drama (especially of the overwrought Christie variety) is too much, and I find it refreshing that a more realistic murder story can be presented. This story rested more on finding evidence and learning how the murderer committed the crime than on finding the murderer.